Thursday, November 20, 2014

Remember this Date: It's the Day We Lost Control of our District

November 19, 2014.  Mark it on your calendar or in your journal.  Because today, to my mind and experience, marks the beginning of the reform movement of our district.  (I say "our" district meaning the parents and taxpayers of Seattle.  I leave out staff because they have unions and contracts to protect them.)

In a couple of days, if you watch the meeting online, you might be puzzled.  Sure, it's a packed house (and very few who came to the meeting actually got to speak about their issue) and sure enough, droning reports from staff, so what's so different?

The difference is - as Charlie points out - that lawlessness has taken our district.  The manipulation of district processes are now being controlled but surely not by the Board.

The Board had to vote - under Board policy 6114 and 1620 - on the Gates Foundation Preschool grant.  That Action Item, so lovingly written as to make it sound like the district had to fire this shot against the injustice over the lack of aligned preschool spaces in Seattle.  And, if the Board didn't do this NOW, the money might go away.  From the Gates Foundation.  Please.

All this testifying and commenting was just a show.  

Because it was a done deal.  (See the grant agreement.)

The Superintendent signed the agreement two months ago.  Two months.  Before the Board vote.  In fact, according to the grant, they got $250K sometime in October.  The Board vote?  No real meaning.

Once you cut out the Board on these deals, despite Board policy to the contrary, AND the Board knows it and still votes yes, we're done as a democratically-driven district.
It was the juxtaposition that got to me. 

Here you had 30+ members of the Native American Community come to speak about their heroes and their sadness that their culture could not be part of SPS even as students as for it to be.  Sure, a some Board members spoke of that need for cultural competency but did anyone commit to supporting that?  No.  And I've heard too many past Board members say the - exact - same - thing and yet, no real Native American program.

(Meanwhile, in LA, they just voted in a mandatory ethnic studies class to graduate from high school.)

You had 30+ Garfield Latin students and parents plus at least 10 Roosevelt Latin students (standing in support for Garfield) who came to advocate for their teacher and their fear of losing the program.  They got thanked in the same way that the John Rogers choir did.  (This is not to say that the Rogers choir didn't do a great job; they did.  But the presence of the two groups was not for the same reason.)

You had 30+parents and children from John Hay/Queen Anne Elementary who came to advocate about their worries about the relocating of an Interagency program across the street from Hay.  They had many signs but were very polite and quiet.

I had one parent ask me, after Board comments, "How could they seem to ignore who was in the room?  There just was barely any acknowledgment."  Yes, it was quite like many elephants were in the room and yet only the one with the headdress with the jeweled "G" got the Board's real attention.

It was the Superintendent thanking Seattle voters - again - for the approval of the preschool plan 1B.  And saying "it's an opportunity for all our students" when, in fact, except for Sped preschoolers, preschool is not SPS' job.

It was the Superintendent saying that they had notified all the families involved in the data breach - "all that we could electronically" as if that was all they could do and was good enough.  Parents who have asked here about if their child might be in the breach, if they don't have your e-mail (or silly you, you don't have one), our district doesn't feel any need to do any more to inform you.

It is very clear to me where Superintendent Nyland stands and I do not believe it is with the parents of this district.

Then there was Director Blanford, the ultimate "we gotta trust the district" director.  We have to trust the "Superintendent and senior leadership" to find an answer to the data breach and make sure it won't happen again.  Does that answer include accountability and consequences?  He didn't say.

In his usual arrogant manner, being disrespectfully dismissive of the advocates on the lunch/recess times. 

He said that he had a "boisterous" community meeting with many of these advocates.  He said it was a "very, very complex" issue with "no easy solution."  He claimed that one of the two writers of the recent op-ed on this topic in the Seattle Times had said that F/RL kids should leave class 10 minutes earlier than others to go thru the line since they had to use the checkout machine.  He said it would stigmatize those kids and was "wrong-headed." He's probably right except for one thing.

I went back to the op-ed.  Can't find that.  Went to the petition page.  Can't find that.  So where he read/heard that, I don't know but it isn't what the group - as a group - is advocating.

And he can't applaud parents for advocating, not just for their child, or their school, but for all kids in the district.  He can't just say he disagrees.  Nope, he had to go out of his way to denigrate that parent.

But wait!  There's more.  He said there are many challenges to the lunch/recess issues but then, oddly, most were adult issues.  Now this is a favorite party line for ed reformers - "don't make this about adult issues but focus on the kids."

Blanford, on the other hand, says that it's about labor agreements and that some of the advocates wanted to "demonize" and "invalidate" opinions of school leaders.

He then went on a rant that "we (should) trust our school leaders to manage the buildings well, if not, take action but, by and large, have faith in trust."  Is he saying that about whoever had keys at Beacon Hill and changed test scores including his daughter's?  Not so much.

This is a lot of pushback against what parents SAY is important to them and what senior district leadership are doing/want to be doing. 

So you can either see this as Day One on the road to the loss of our district or Day One of the time to wake up and fight back before it's too late. 

That, dear readers, is up to you.  Not me.


Anonymous said...


He only won because he ran against a homophobe/racist who is completely inappropriate to serve on any board representing and serving our diverse and inclusive populace.

Remember how he used to say "I have a huge mandate" when he swore his oath and subsequently trepeated this around town?

He's the exact opposite of Director Peters: she had to work incredibly hard to win her seat on the board, running against a well qualified and reasonable candidate. Director Peters never is arrogant or dismissive, she is curious and well spoken and always comes to meetings well prepared because she has done deep research and has taken the time to truly learn about the complexity and nuances of any given issue.

Blanford? Total waste of space. He does not understand the issues, he does not bother to listen to people who know more than him, or even acknowledge that his 'boisturous' constituents might know more than he knows.

3 more years of him. Ugh. Rome is burning. And he can't even smell the smoke even with the flames in front of his face (so many flames - SpEd, middle school math, high school drop out rate, budget shortfall, capacity crisis...)

Tweet #BlanfordWTF with your own pithy comment about SPS flameout


Tina Podlodowski said...

Thanks for the great update on the meeting.

Wow - and did you read the Seattle Times article this am? No mention that the grant was already signed in September and monies already received. Made is sound like the testimony swayed Board members, as opposed to this being "in the bag".

Oh, and it's kinda funny that that was the only topic that received the majority of testimony. Especially since I know that a lot of the QA parents called and emailed right at 8am Monday to get on the list. Odd how so many folks got in ahead on that one topic.

I so feel for the Garfield students that came last night - not right, not fair, not ok.

Anonymous said...

Podlowski used to be on Seattle City Council. No different there, and no way she doesn't know it. Public testimony on the day of a vote almost never sways the people on the dais. Their votes are mostly preordained based on conversations before the public meeting. Conversations usually had in the privacy of their offices-phones-emails and yes staff holds heavy sway.

To be 'shocked' by SPS board doesn't ring true. Additionally, Reformers flooding the board office to monopolize testimony is not a new tactic. Clearly she wasn't watching the TFA meetings of a couple years ago.

Fine for Podlowski to post here. Great even. But as was noted in another thread to be surprised that staff considers the board as something to be worked around -because staff knows and board doesn'-) and to consider public testimony as something to be suffered through is nothing new. Nothing new at all. Podlowski's surprise shows her to be deliberately blind or hopelessly behind.


Melissa Westbrook said...

As to that speaker list, I have my own theories. We'll see.

Transparency Please said...


Thank you for calling attention to the fact that Larry Nyland signed the Gates agreement in September of 2014. According to the document $250K was paid to the district in October 2014. Nyland has been around for a long time. Common sense will tell you that Nyland should have known $250K would need board approval.

Larry Nyland sat at the dias and told taxpayers that it was "unfortunate" that the language within the Gate's grant wasn't clearer related to turning the program over to the city. Nyland told taxpayers that the intention of the grant was to turn the Bailey Gatzert program to the city AFTER the MOU was signed.

There is NO reason to believe anything Nyland has to say.

I am hearing that the Bailey Gatzert preschool is set to go. Did the district use the Gates funds to do so?

I remain very concerned about language related to P5. P5 can mean prenatal to 5 years old.

Kudos to Meg Diaz. She is a rock star and I look forward to transparency related to actual numbers. I hope she doesn't give-up on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Further, how can Podlowski be surprised that the Queen Anne Interagency didn't get a fullblown mea culpa from that board meeting. Again, staff could care less and the board has a laundry list of bigger crises to deal with. Some of the posters on this site have worked for more than a decade to affect event the smallest of changes in SPS. For Queen Anne to expect to step to the front of the line goes against the way SPS in its noninfinite wisdom works.

Further, if and when the issue gets wider play Queen Anne is likely to be taken aback by how little support it gets from other SPS neighborhoods. Equity in this district is a massive issue. So are space concerns. So are communications failures. John Hay is about to experience Melissa's We Are All Connected lecture that points out that issues in one part of the district affects most others in the district at the end of the day. When Interagency goes into the old Queen Anne gymnasium maybe a couple of John Hay neighbors will look beyond their own front doors in the coming years.

I also support Interagency going into that gym. These kids don't bite. They need help. Again, equity! Space crisis! No extra capital funding! Connect the dots to the John Hay neighborhood.


Gross said...

Speakers from Bailey Gatzert were being used. They had no way of knowing that there was funding in the Family and Education Levy to support prek at Bailey Gatzert.

If the board were to reject the Gate's grant...venom would have inappropriately spewed at the board. When, in fact, the Gate's contract had already been signed.

Linh-Co said...

I hope we do a superintendent search to replace Nyland.

Gardener said...

Collusion between Gates, Murray, SPS and the for-profit charter school industry should come as no surprise after the revelations in the recent election.

The array of forces against 1A was suspicious. Seattle progressives failed to unite behind an initiative that had the resources to stop 1B.

Ranting about pawns on the board may be well deserved, but the big players working behind the scene are the real problem.

Gross said...

"Larry Nyland sat at the dias and told taxpayers that it was "unfortunate" that the language within the Gate's grant wasn't clearer related to turning the program over to the city. Nyland told taxpayers that the intention of the grant was to turn the Bailey Gatzert program to the city AFTER the MOU was signed."

Nyland lied to the citizens of Seattle regarding the Gate's grant. There is NO reason to believe him about the Gates grant in relation to the city of Seattle.

I agree with Gardener.

Anonymous said...

About 20 people called in exactly at 8am re: the Garfield teacher issue as well. Very suspect that NO ONE got on the list. They were lucky that a couple of speakers didn't show up so they were able to take a waitlist spot.

Shout out to GHS ASB Student Body President Harald Hyllseth, who delivered a well-thought out and persuasive speech and directly reached out to Director Blanford and then was summarily ignored. That young man is showing up and representing Garfield in such a positive way through this turmoil. Unfortunately, he is learning about the frustration of dealing with a horrible bureaucracy.

Obvious that the many pro pre-school speakers had to be secured to make it apparent how desperately the preschool program is needed. They needed to justify it since it is already a done deal.

Not that I necessarily disagree on the need for a preschool at Gatzert, I actually did appreciate the effort of those parents that expressed their needs through interpreters.

However, it would be nice if SPS followed protocols and exercised transparency on all these issues....too much to hope for, I know.

-GHS Mom

NW parent said...

So kindly enlighten me - I take it the board voted yes on this. Did any board members vote no?

I've never been so thankful my kid will be graduating this year.

Crazy Time said...

Director Peters and Director Patu voted NO on the Gates grant. Clearly, they have the ability to read black and white print. The city will take over the Bailey Gatzert prek- it says so in the grant. There is NO mention of a MOU with the city.

Nyland could have insisted that the language be changed..he DIDN't. As a matter of fact, he signed the grant, and according to a Gate's document, the district has already received $250K. This violates board policy.

Instead, Nyland claimed it "unfortunate" that the grant wasn't clearer.

It appears Nyland has mislead the board and this is a serious issue.

Here is the Gates grant:

Anonymous said...

Why would we expect the Seattle Times to report in an unbiased way on a Gates Funded Program, when the education reporters at the Seattle Times are a Gates Funded Program?


Anonymous said...

I listened to the entire meeting, every word of it, online (for some reason, I lost video altogether right after the Rogers kids performed).

In my perfect dream world, immediately upon revelation that Nyland had already signed the Gates grant before the Board was supposed to approve it or not, the President of the Board would immediately bring down the gavel and say "This meeting is adjourned." That would have forced the MOU before the grant was approved.

When Nyland remarked that it was "unfortunate" that the langauge in the grant was not more clear, I must admit that I blurted out, in the privacy of my own home: "Then what the (blank) did you sign it for, you (blank) (blank) (blankety-blank) (blank?)"

I want those kids to have a preschool there. I am not usually a process wonk, but the way this went down was unacceptable.

Maybe it's just me, but I have a sense that the 2015 School Board elections just might make the Gunfight at the OK Corral look like the Teddy Bears' Picnic in comparison.

-- Ivan Weiss

Deb Escher said...

As one of the leaders of the Lunch & Recess Matter group, I can confirm that we are not advocating for isolating our F&RL kids to send them to the lunch room early. That is flat-out false.

If this came up in Director Blanford's community meeting, it must have come as an idea from another meeting attendee. That said, our group has brainstormed LOTS of ideas, and have discussed sending (all) hot lunch eaters early, but agree that it would inappropriately isolate kids and abandoned that as yet another band-aid fix that doesn't solve the real issue. For the 1000 ideas we've discussed (we're passionately solution-minded!) there are a many great ideas and a many that ultimately don't work.

Again, Director Blanford is absolutely wrong in saying we're advocating for isolating our F&RL kids to make up for schools egregiously non-complaint lunch times. No, we're not. We are advocating for our schools to comply with the policy/procedure (H61.01) that should protect our children from the lunch-cutting practice going on in nearly every SPS school today.

We do agree with everyone, that it is complex. However, what is not complex, is that children need to eat and play. And the eating times need to be corrected immediately.

We're trying our best to partner to the district. We've offered to help conduct and fund independent school audits. We have been invited to review the results of the district-wide lunch/recess/bell time survey that is due this week. That is great progress.

However, the more we look into the issues of how we got in this mess, we see a lot of erroneous, or worse, intentionally misleading and false reporting of lunch and recess times, because frankly the schools don't want to look out of compliance with the minimum lunch policy (H61.01). We are exposing that to the board and public, and calling for clearer instructions and accuracy for how this is reported going forward.

My question to Director Blanford (and all!): How do we trust a district that does it, especially when the result is putting our children's health and well-being at risk?

Is 5 minutes to eat really long enough for a kid who relies on school lunch for nutrition, or any child for that matter? The parent advocates are being tenacious, because every day there is inaction on SPS's part to CORRECT the issue (not evaluate, not measure, not audit it!) our kids, and your kids, and the F&RL kids are going hungry. They are being denied a humane amount of time to eat.

As Sue Peters said (paraphrasing) on this topic: This issue is simple. There is a clear policy in place. The schools need to follow it.

Please join our group to stay informed on this major child welfare and civil rights concern in SPS:

Deb Escher

Reader47 said...

@Ivan - I tend to agree with you on the election :) (well, actually, I agree with everything you said including the blankety-blank part)

What a disingenuous cesspool SPS admin has become. I am always thankful my step-kid lives elsewhere - I'd have sold everything I own to put her into private schools rather than suffer the endless stupidity and sometimes quasi-evil that is SPS.

NW Parent said...

Thank you, Crazy Time - I appreciate the info.

Crazy Time said...

Nyland is running a district with a budget of over $1B per year and he talks about "unfortunate" language in a contract?!!


Nyland is working with Gates and Murray, and failed to recognize the authority of the board.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and I'm not having hope in Nyland. What other tricks does he have up his sleeve??

Ragweed said...

The order of board testimony is pretty well spelled out on the School Board website where they have instructions on how to sign up. Priority is assigned to:

1. Testimony related to items being voted on that night.

2. Testimony related to items being introduced at that meeting.

3. Testimony related to general issues not before the board at that meeting.

In this case, all of the Bailey-Gatzert speakers were addressing and issue that was up for vote. The QA parents and Garfield faculty issues were not up for vote and went latter.

Of course, some people do split their testimony so that they partially address an issue on the agenda and then address more general issues as well.

Anonymous said...

The board passed the preschool vote with a margin that says their is no doubt they would have given Nyland approval to sign the agreement even if he had not jumped the gun with signing.

Other than metaphorically stomping around now what can be done?


Anonymous said...

@ wondering Voting down the next BTA or Operations Levy or both (with a thoughtful and informative campaign) would send a clear message.

The Operations Levy is a tough one but it would appear on the ballot a couple of months later.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Ragweed is right; the Board does have an order with which comments are to be ranked.

I still think there is something off and I'm looking into that.

Anonymous said...

My GHS daughter said there were going to be 30 students getting on the list. However, the timing at 8 am was a bit inconvenient for making a phone call since class just started at 7:50. She said that she knew a lot of people who did call at 8 am. I was surprised to see so many preschool people on the agenda and the GHS people on the waitlist. I haven't watched the meeting yet, but I assume some spots became available for GHS.

Tina Podlodowski said...


First off - spell my name right if you are going to ascribe anything to me - it's Podlodowski. Sorry but my pet peeve is if you are going to be critical of someone personally then use your real name - anyone can hide behind anonymous. That is not the rule of this blog however, so no matter. And thank you for "allowing" me to post.

Second, testimony does sway elected officials - don't assume everyone is wired or not open to new information. Does it influence all of them - no. But it does and it has.

Third, it's unfortunate that "mainstream" media has not taken note of the grant signing in September and that monies have already been received. That *does* make the whole thing wired and a show and that's unfortunate.

Fourth, I didn't expect anything from the meeting last night except for perhaps an opportunity to speak. Most deliberative bodies would have expanded testimony time given the unusual number of speakers. The Board did not.

Finally, my child is not at John Hay, my child is at QAE. QAE, Hay, and Coe parents just want to know if there was consideration of using the old QAHS gym, as, well, a gym especially since Hay and QAE don't have gyms. It's a reasonable questions. And, if the facility is being built out in classrooms, why not use to relieve overcrowding on QA since the building is located on QA?

Again, reasonable questions looking for an answer.

Ya know, the vast majority of my QA neighborhood is just trying to get some answers, and then figure out what comes next. If it's Interagency, then I expect folks to embrace and help. No need for neighborhood name calling.

Thank you for listening.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Tina, they did expand it (it's typically 20 speakers, they went to 25 but have gone longer in the past).

Again, please folks don't make one neighborhood into a monolith. The Hay folks last night were very nice and listened to everything patiently.

Crazy Time said...

"Third, it's unfortunate that "mainstream" media has not taken note of the grant signing in September and that monies have already been received. That *does* make the whole thing wired and a show and that's unfortunate"

I agree. Using the city's poorest and most vulnerable to put on a horse and pony show..when the whole deal had been wrapped=up.

Anonymous said...

On the KOMO 4 news coverage of last night's School Board meeting, the ONLY issue that was covered was Interagency at Queen Anne Gym. Thankfully, they interviewed the Interagency principal and others who were for the placement of Interagency at QA Gym, and not just those opposed.

As for the order of speakers at Board meetings, action item agenda topics get preference over introduction agenda topics, and everything else gets comes after those. It was a bit odd to have so many speakers on one topic, though, especially one right after another.

- North-end Mom

mirmac1 said...


I agree. Retirement can be great.

mirmac1 said...

Do we need someone who would actively work to eliminate board autonomy, with its focus on student learning and well-being?

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Did the Sup have the authority to accept the grant without Board approval first?

Anonymous said...

No. He does not. Based on board policy (and the missing signature authority chart that should be on the website) the wording of any document he signs over $250K should reflect that. But it didn't with the A4E's Seattle Teacher Residency grant that Banda signed prematurely. And it will continue this way until the elected board members should just not bother showing up.

He should be censured for his insubordinate act. Contract extension? Uh. No.

He is quickly becoming pouty and politicized like the others. When you are in the JSCEE Echo Chamber, that's the easy way to go. Parents upset? Oh, they must be on the rag. Us? Break the law? Oh No! It's the law firm or the girl victim or whomever English finds handy to throw under the bus.

Poor QA neighbors. Walk a mile in a homeless pregnant teen's shoes. When you ask for help, I'll call the police to get you out of my neighborhood.

Get Real

cmj said...

Kudos to the Garfield students who protested and tried to get on the list to testify. It seems like they were very responsible and proactive. I'm proud of them.

Is there a way that we can try to make sure that Nyland's contract isn't renewed? I held out hope for him, but the last few weeks have killed that hope. We need a superintendent that will follow and enforce SPS policy and not try to cover up SPS' failures. At this point, I'd settle for a superintendent who just followed SPS policy. From what I've heard, Nyland wants to become superintendent, not just interim superintendent. Is there any way that we can prevent this?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's my prediction: not only will Nyland continue, they will extend his contract for six months.

Why? I'll explain in another thread but it's all part of Murray's plan to take on more and more of the running of the district.

Nyland will likely apply to be permanent superintendent and get the powers that be's support.

cmj said...

Watched the first part of the district meeting. It was actually a bit inspiring to see so many parents, staff, and students turn out for public testimony. The sad fact is that they were mostly there because of SPS' failures, but it was still wonderful to see the community so driven and so engaged.

Thank you, Melissa, for bringing up the fact that the grant agreement was signed by Nyland far before it should have been according to policy. Thank you for making sure that Meg Diaz was able to speak. Meg, your speech was fantastic.

Nyland repeated that Garfield should have lost two teachers based off their headcount. I'm not impressed. He said this before public testimony (when Meg Diaz mentioned the ~560 missing 9th graders), but he should have known about that last week (I'm assuming Melissa/Meg emailed or otherwise notified him about it). He could have said that "well, we're checking the numbers again since we've noticed some potential discrepancies." Instead, he repeated a statement made to Garfield about a month ago.

cmj said...

Blanford was really rather dismissive and condescending of his constituents when it came to the lunch and recess issue. I wasn't impressed. Don't tell us to trust SPS have have faith. We've seen SPS mess up badly many times.

Carr: Didn't say much. Told us that the "signs and e-mails were being read." Yes, but will SPS act on them?

Patu congratulated the 16 students who recently graduated. Spoke about the achievement gap and tied the Native American student protesters to that. I thought that there was a bit of a jump between her talking about students sharing their culture and the achievement gap. She pointed out that SPS has a bad history of FERPA and privacy issues and it out to be fixed.

McLaren thanked the students of all the schools for coming to the board meeting. Was touched by the photographs and naming of the Native American local heroes and asked to have those photos posted on the SPS website. Said that "us in the dominant culture" needed to "beware of our arrogance" and listen to minority groups.

She agreed about "making our practice match our policy." Said that linking preschool through fifth grade education could improve social and emotional well-being or awareness of it-- I really didn't understand what she meant and may not be accurately summarizing her remarks on it.

She applauded the CSHS students who made the Riffing on the Dream video. She said that South Shore K-8 and South Lake High were housed in the same building for several years while the SLH building was under construction and said it was a "wonderful relationship." As Charlie mentioned, they're now in different buildings but on the same block.

Martin-Morris didn't say anything.

Peaslee thanked the Native American presenters and said that they were in a unique position because they'd lived and thrived in Seattle before "we" [white people, I assume] came and took it away from them and said that SPS owed it to them to learn about their culture.

cmj said...

Peters: I was impressed by her. She went through just about every issue raised by public testimony. Her remarks were quite lengthy. She praised the two Ballard student's suggestion of having a mental health/stress awareness meeting.

Peters said that the district could have done better with communicating with the public about John Hay and Interagency. She pointed out that SPS has a responsibility to all of its students. One thing bugged, me, though. She mentioned that there was "misinformation" being spread. I don't doubt that, but SPS hasn't told the public much about the proposed Interagency site (SPS' usual lack of transparency). When you refuse to tell people what's going in, you're going to get misinformation and rumors.

Peters supported the Native American speakers. She mentioned the information breach and requested a review of what the heck actually happened (but will the review happen?). She also asked the question that a lot of us have been asking: what the heck was the law firm doing with the records of thousands of students?

She spoke in support of Garfield student protesters and urged the district to fix their budgeting procedure, to overproject student numbers instead of underprojecting student numbers. She said that giving the PTSA the option of paying for the teacher (who would have been cut) was a "Sophie's choice" because if the PTSA pays the teacher, then they have to take money from other programs, potentially those serving needy students. I wonder if that was a reference to the Read Right program at Garfield, a remedial reading program funded by the PTSA. I am grateful that the PTSA was still able to fund that.

Lunch and recess (someone already mentioned this): "we have a policy and it needs to be followed. That's all we should be asking of our school leaders and that's it. It's pretty straightforward."

Blandford is worthless said...

CMJ, OMG Could you be my BBFE -best blogger friend ever!

I just watched online as my kids homeworked.

Blandford talked for seemingly forever and then cancelled his next "boisterous" town meeting.

Peters and Patu yes. Carr yeah why not she expressed some reasonable things and said something about a data breach. the rest don't care. madam president is like watching a stroller roll down hill... is there anything precious in the the stroller? you only find out that was precious was the time lost listening to her blathering.

dan dempsey said...

Nothing to be surprised about ....

This is the same type of shenanigans that have been going on since the 2007 Board elections when the powers that be bought the Board election. Maier, Sunquist, Carr, and Martin-Morris spent $500,000 to become the installed gang-of-four.

Take a look back at MGJ, Santoro, Tolley, Brad Bernatek et al from that era. There is nothing new going on here as Nyland is continuing the tradition.

I do think the "Lost control statement has merit" but its a question of when, how much, and how.... you could include the US Dept. of Ed and Arne Duncan, NCLB, Race to the Top, Common Core, etc. .... The idea of democratic control and public input can make much of a difference in public education is an illusion. ..... [Speaking of loss of control] An illusion just like the idea that the WEA and SEA spend much productive effort to improve the lot of teacher members (for $75 a month).

Watching said...

Carr made an interesting comment. K-12 funding diverted to prek will be considered a public gift. This is good information.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Board likely won't answer me but perhaps some of you could e-mail any director who voted Yes a question:

Did you know before you voted that Superintendent Nyland had already signed the agreement?

It would be interesting to know the answer.

mirmac1 said...

The fact they committed to a contract and received the funds before board approval should be an audit finding. These grants are contracts.

Question said...

I understand that the prek at Bailey Gatzert has been set-up and is nearly ready to accept prek students. Do we know if dollars from the Gates grant was used for this project?

Watching said...

Larry Nyland is an experienced superintendent with decades of experience.

Policies have been standardized. There is NO way Nyland did not know that it was improper to sign an agreement for $750L(!!!) and accept a payment of $250K without board approval.

The question remains: Were the dollars from that agreement spent at Bailey Gatzert? If so, what would have happened if the board delayed, or did not accept the grant?

Nyland acted in a way that is beyond irresponsible. He acted independently and without board approval.

Nyland's actions should be incorporated into his evaluation and we can only hope not to see this guy as our superintendent.

Lastly, the largest question: Why would Nyland act in such an irresponsible manner?

mirmac1 said...

If there is language in the contract/grant that recognizes that the agreement is not final until approval by the Board, well, then end of story.

A far more egregious case was Banda signing the Seattle Teacher Residency grant (again channeled through the Alliance). In that case money was advanced and work was performed before the grant was approved. Heck, they weren't even going to inform the board about it until I pointed out repeatedly that the total of grant and in-kind contribution was nearly $500K the first year, and grow every year after that.

Watching said...

"A far more egregious case was Banda signing the Seattle Teacher Residency grant (again channeled through the Alliance). In that case money was advanced and work was performed before the grant was approved. Heck, they weren't even going to inform the board about it until I pointed out repeatedly that the total of grant and in-kind contribution was nearly $500K the first year, and grow every year after that."

Are we watching a MO?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Question, I'm trying to figure that out.

I asked Principal Greg Imel, pointblank, if they have a room ready (as was stated in public testimony at the board meeting). He said, "I have a room and it has a bathroom." I said but is it a preschool bathroom (b/c little kids need smaller, lower toilets). He repeated, "I have a room and it has a bathroom."

Question said...

During the board mtg., Cashel Toner indicated that the classroom will open in January.

Lynn said...

During the meeting Ms. Toner also reassured the board that this program is for the Gatzert community. Under our enrollment procedures there is no attendance area for general education preschool programs. If that is what is intended, the procedures will have to be amended. (Apparently before January.)

mirmac1 said...

Love that Imel transparency. He is filling the role Jeff Clark of Denny did during the whole MAP charade - "if a principal asks for something (no matter who is pushing him), then it must be valid."

I believe if you go to BG tomorrow, you will see construction underway. I understand that only the SpEd PreK is plumbed for youngsters. According to a source, the other room has been getting modifications.

Where is the money for this? Can Flip just do remodels whenever is serves his purposes?

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Bailey Gatzert is the "pilot" school for the whole thing but yes, who gets access? I'd have to review the agreement. Because the City program won't be ready for months so it will have to be something else.

Mirmac, according to the agreement, the district got $250K in October. I'm trying to verify if that is so but that's the terms of the agreement.

As well, B-G was slated, under BTA III, to get a preschool classroom anyway. Could be those funds.